It has been often said that a boat is a working compromise; I feel that this is a very true statement. Keeping this statement in mind, I will go through why I settled on a Whitby 42 as my sailing compromise.
First I should outline my thought process for selection. I had some “musts haves”; some, “it would be nice to have”; and of course some,”I can live without or add later”.
First,” the must haves”. The boat has to be a tried and true blue water boat, one that has been tested on the ocean. It must be strong and able to withstand the weather and waves of off shore sailing.
The engine must be a diesel, and an older model that is simplistic in nature so as to facilitate easy self repair. However, with that said, one that parts can somewhat easily be procured.
Comfort is also a must. The cabin must have good head room and all the facilities for added comfort. For example, a good living space, with as I said before with good head height, and comfortable living. It must have a full galley, which would include a multi burner gimbaled stove with oven. A large working refrigerator included in the work area of the galley.
The sleeping accommodations should be such as to accommodate visitors as well as giving some privacy in the form of a cabin. For me this was a must as I feel that I need a place to retreat to for my own comfort where I can gather my thoughts.
Storage is also a key ingredient for me in boat selection. As Gerry K, a friend of mine has rightfully suggested that the amount of storage on a boat is inversely proportional to the speed of the boat. Meaning if you have a slow boat you need more storage for provisions, water, and diesel.
My final point under this heading is a full keel boat. Again there is and advantages and disadvantages to a full keel, however, my thinking was that there would be more stability in the ocean, yes slower, yes doesn’t turn on a dime, and yes does not reverse well. The advantage is stability, and security in case of touching bottom and protection of my rudder.
Secondly, the “it would be nice to have” section. These are items that it would be nice to have, or nice to have with the boat purchase, as it would save money if purchased with the boat.
The first of these is a dinghy. No matter what the shape as I do not have one on hand. The dinghy is like the taxi for the boat and would allow me to better live at anchor, providing transportation to and from shore or other boats.
A life raft, again I do not have one, and yes I know they have to be recertified, and I am willing to do that.
Good sails in good condition would be very nice. Again I could replace them as I go, however, it would be nice to have something to sail with.
Along with the must of having a refrigerator, having a freezer would be awesome. A freezer would allow me to store food for extended cruising, and saving fish caught while out on the ocean.
Communications are a must on the ocean a high frequency (HF) radio would be nice addition. Yes, I realize that there are satellite communications now on the market, nonetheless, a HF radio, would be a good back up for communications.
Finally, “I can live without or add later” section. These are items that on their own would not influence the purchase of the boat one way or another.
Sail pack, this is a system to catch the main sail, and in the case of Mizz Fitz her mizzen sail so that the sails are secured when lowering the sails, or reefing the sails. This is something I could add later but would be a huge advantage for a single handed sailor.
The battery system, lithium batteries are the way to go, however, they are expensive and a recent addition to the sailing community. There was no expectation of finding a boat with lithium power already on the boat; this is something I could add at a much later time.
A cabin heater, for high latitude sailing again not a deal breaker. However, living and sailing in Canada it would be a great addition to a world cruising boat.
A Rocna or manta anchor, these are two of the better anchors on the market. Ideally, I would like to oversize my anchor so that it doubles as a hurricane anchor. It is a case of having confidence and being able to set it and forget it.
A working auto pilot is also a necessity for world cruising. This one was almost on the “must haves”, but I thought I could add one later, one of my choosing.
So let’s look at what drew me to purchasing Mizz Fitz, and why I settled on her, and some unexpected pluses for me.
Mizz Fitz checks everyone of the boxes on the must have list. She is a world class cruiser, and they can be found in every corner of the world. They are a Ted Brewer design and very comfortable, with loads of head room and lots of storage.
Mizz Fitz was the last boat built at the Whitby Boat Works in Ontario Canada, in 1986; the engine is not complex providing easy maintenance and repair. She has a full keel with a skegged rudder which is good for ocean going and protection of the rudder. What I have is a strong stout sailboat that has been tested all over the world. He is spacious accommodating and as a plus because it is a cutter rigged ketch has a back cabin as well as a forward cabin, and can sleep 7 people quite comfortable.
Part of the comfort is the full galley complete with a gimbaled stove and fridge and a separate freezer both deep and wide. The galley had a large work area and a double sink. The living area boasts a large table that folds up out of the way, with 2 sitting areas one pulls out into a double bed and one pulls out to a single bed, good for long passages for a shift sleeping while under sail.
In the “it would be nice to have” section again the Mizz Fitz excels she came with a dinghy, a life raft and good sails. The dinghy is an Avalon dinghy and is a rigid inflatable boat (RIB) it has a hard bottom and is capable of handling a 15 horse outboard motor. The life raft is out of date and needs to be recertified.
The sails are in good condition and have been taken to a sail maker to be assessed and maintained where needed, which wasn’t much. An extra benefit was the HF radio complete with modem. This isn’t a need nor would I have bought one to put in the boat, but it is nice to have. I can now send emails and get weather GRIB files via HF radio and modem, which is pretty cool.
Some of the items that are partially checked would the cabin heater one is present but in need of repair. The lead acid batteries have been well used and need to be upgraded. The anchors are okay but not the size or type I wanted but it is functional. The auto pilot is an older model and has also seen better days and will also need to be upgraded. There are no sail packs that came with the boat; however, they can be a project for another day.
As I said earlier a boat is a compromise and that compromise is a personal one. Meaning that what works for one sailor may not work for another. However, for me this works well, I also realize that my wants and needs may not be the same as others, but that is part of the personal compromise. I am quite happy with my half of the compromise.